My indecisiveness has led some to believe my actual residency lies somewhere in the snowy hills of the Swiss Alps and not the sandy beaches of Wilmington, NC. If I received a nickel for every time I have heard the expression ‘stop being Switzerland and choose a side already!’ I would be a very rich man who would funnel his money into one of those secretive Swiss bank accounts. The rest of my days would be spent strolling the streets of Geneva – a city that just happens to offer the highest quality of life in the world.
If you ask me, Switzerland gets a bad rap for remaining neutral. Due to them not choosing sides, we lose sight of all that is great about this country. Yes, it might be true that they haven’t been to war since 1815, but this is of little concern if you are lucky enough to get a chance to ski down the slopes of The Alps. Sitting in the lodge sipping on hot chocolate, you check your favorite Swatch watch and realize that you are just in time to watch ESPN Classic replay the 2004 Wimbledon Finals.
After witnessing Roger Federer, the greatest Swiss athlete of all time, take home one of his 13 Grand Slam titles; you hop into your Smart Car and head over to your friend’s house for a fondue party. It might be hard for you to choose sides about a lot of things, but you are confident there is nothing better than dipping pieces of bread into warm melted cheese.
It might not seem this way, but there is a purpose behind Switzerland staying out of the world’s conflict. Being a small country in a geographical vulnerable location, there is safety in not choosing sides. As long as they remain neutral, other countries cannot invade it no matter how bad they want to storm the Alps in hopes of stealing the secret Swiss fondue recipe.
Contrary to the popular saying, I believe there are more than two sides to every story especially if I am the individual others are looking towards to settle an argument. While Person A has their viewpoint and Person B holds their slant, I am trying to mesh both sides together and create Story C. Why do I hate picking sides so much? Part of it is not wanting to make anyone feel bad. Somehow I think by withhold a decision I am being respectful to the individuals who are on separate sides of a disagreement. I want them to feel like they are being heard and understood.
At first glance, this appears noble, but if someone were to dig deeper they would realize this action is rooted in pure selfishness. More than anything, I want to be liked and rocking the boat by picking sides has the tendency to disrupt any relationship. By living in the middle ground, the Swiss receive stability, security and safety. However, in return for my many years of sitting on the fence all I have to show for it are splinters stuck in my butt.